Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino gives first hint of shake-up plans

  • By Mariko Oi
  • Business reporter

image source, Getty Images


Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino

The new head of social media company Twitter, Linda Yaccarino, has outlined her plans for “Twitter 2.0,” after taking over from Elon Musk a week ago.

She says the company is “on a mission to become the world’s most accurate source of real-time information”.

Since Musk bought Twitter last year, it has faced criticism for its approach to tackling disinformation.

In a series of tweets, which were also emailed to employees, Yaccarino reiterated Musk’s goal that Twitter must transform the “global square.”

She said this would help “drive civilization forward through the unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us.”

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“Users need to know that the square is not biased,” Ray Wang, chief executive of Silicon Valley-based research firm Constellation, told the BBC.

A self-described “free speech absolute,” Musk has criticized Twitter’s content moderation policies, arguing that it needed to be a genuine forum for free speech.

But his moves to reinstate right-wing accounts, whose views he has shared, and loosen moderation have driven away advertisers. In December, turnover fell by 40% to a year earlier.

For advertisers to come back, they need to know what to expect in terms of user content and engagement, Wang said.

“She’s definitely someone who can balance Elon and go toe-to-toe with him while he respects her,” he added.

Since buying Twitter last year for $44bn (£35.1bn), Musk had been under pressure to find someone to lead the firm so he could focus on his other ventures, which include electric car maker Tesla and rocket firm SpaceX.

Yaccarino is credited with helping steer media giant NBCUniversal through industry upheaval caused by changing technology.

In her previous role, she oversaw the company’s ad sales business and was behind the 2020 launch of ad-supported streaming platform Peacock.

She now oversees business operations at Twitter, which has struggled to make money, while Musk continues as the company’s executive chairman and chief technology officer.

“We think Linda has a solid vision for Twitter with a lot of chops that can be turned around,” said Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities.

“This is a great first step and she knows the task ahead of Twitter to monetize the platform that remains the golden goose.”

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